The Hypnotist's Love Story
In this simply exquisite read, 35-year-old Ellen O'Farrell is a professional hypnotherapist who runs her business in her home, a quirky old beachfront house she inherited from her grandmother. She has had a few important relationships, but is ready for a lasting one. When she meets single dad Patrick Scott, she's delighted. He's attractive, single, enthusiastic, active and employed --- and he actually treats the subject of hypnotherapy in a respectful way, which is not always the case when Ellen reveals her profession. The two of them share an instant connection the first moment they meet, and that feeling has endured.
"THE HYPNOTIST'S LOVE STORY is a fascinating (and frequently hilarious) Russian doll story-within-a-story study of human obsession, reflected as if in a carnival fun house of mirrors. What's more, it's an exquisitely intense unfolding of the viewpoints of both the stalker and the stalker's partner."
So she feels a sharp prickling of foreboding during their dinner date when he stares over her shoulder and announces that he must tell her something. As Patrick excuses himself, heading for the back of the restaurant, Ellen is sure that the extreme joy she has experienced since meeting him is about to vanish. He must be about to tell her that he's a criminal or that he’s married and not widowed as he'd claimed. On the other hand, maybe he's preparing to dump her.
Ellen braces herself (with a little boost from self-hypnosis), but she’s not at all prepared for what Patrick tells her when he finally returns to the table: His ex-girlfriend, Saskia, has stalked him for the three years since they split up. In fact, he had spotted her in the restaurant and Saskia followed him as he headed toward the restroom. Surprisingly, Ellen is simply relieved by this news and hopes that this relationship can now develop. What's more, she is actually intensely intrigued by the stalking woman's motives. Ellen has to restrain herself from continuing to ask Patrick questions about Saskia long after it appears he is tired of talking about her.
In short order, Ellen is fixated on Saskia and her obsession with Patrick. She wants to know every detail of their relationship and is dying to understand this stalker behavior from Saskia's viewpoint. Ellen doesn't suspect that she not only has met Saskia, but that she continues to interact with her on a regular basis. Yes, as readers learn early on, by using a pseudonym, Saskia has become one of Ellen's clients…all the better to keep her eye on the developing love story between the hypnotherapist and Saskia's ex-love.
Meanwhile, as Saskia stays close to Ellen's life and Ellen yearns to learn more about Saskia, the relationship between Patrick and Ellen continues to change and grow in unpredictable ways. After all, Patrick not only has a young son, he has glowing memories of his first wife, Colleen, who is perfect as only the dead can be. Ongoing attention from Saskia causes Patrick to suffer from tension, and he is soon hooked on Ellen's relaxation sessions. However, she is torn because she knows how easy it would be to give him the suggestion to talk about his previous relationships with both Colleen and Saskia.
THE HYPNOTIST'S LOVE STORY is a fascinating (and frequently hilarious) Russian doll story-within-a-story study of human obsession, reflected as if in a carnival fun house of mirrors. What's more, it's an exquisitely intense unfolding of the viewpoints of both the stalker and the stalker's partner. Gifted storyteller Liane Moriarty avoids the predictable, spinning the tale as a sympathetic character study that happens to be as much of a page-turner as any thriller.
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on June 29, 2012
The Hypnotist's Love Story
- Publication Date: June 4, 2013
- Genres: Fiction
- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Berkley Trade
- ISBN-10: 0425260933
- ISBN-13: 9780425260937